3 points on pertussis

Pertussis (or whooping cough) is an infectious disease that has unfortunately increased in incidence this year, resulting in deaths in newborns and infants. This disease closely resembles the common cold in that it is transmitted through coughing and sneezing.

Symptoms of pertussis

In the initial phase, the main symptoms are mucus, cough and a generally mild fever, which last between one and two weeks, like many colds. However, after two weeks, a rapidly worsening phase occurs, causing rapid coughing, wheezing, vomiting and extreme tiredness.

In infants, they usually do not have as much coughing but may have apnea (respiratory arrest). Whooping cough in this phase usually lasts eight weeks and slowly resolves with less and less coughing.

Diagnosis of pertussis

Since pertussis is a well-known disease, it is easy to diagnose. In case the patient has the symptoms explained above, he/she should visit the ENT doctor for examination and nasopharyngeal fluid sampling to test for the bacteria responsible for these symptoms.

Whooping cough treatment and prevention

Pertussis is treated with antibiotics (indicated for infections caused by intracellular bacteria). The earlier treatment is started, the better the results.

As for prevention, there is DTaP, a vaccine against pertussis, diphtheria and tetanus that is mandatory and is included in the vaccination schedule of all the Autonomous Communities. This vaccine is administered in three doses (at two, four and six months), a booster dose between 15 and 18 months and another at six years of age. In addition, it is recommended to administer the dose every 10 years to maintain immunity. Although the vaccine does not guarantee 100% protection, it does mitigate symptoms in case of infection.

See also  Treating Allergic Rhinitis

In the case of infants, since they do not receive the first vaccine until they are two months old, it is recommended that pregnant women be vaccinated when they are between seven and eight months pregnant. In this way, the baby will be protected and will avoid becoming seriously ill.